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Dating with confidence: looking for love in later years

dating over 50 omage

Going on a date can produce a roller coaster of emotions at any age. Putting yourself on ‘the scene’ involves a degree of vulnerability and exposure. But with age and wisdom comes protection.

Many women who have entered the dating scene over 50 full of trepidation about what they might find actually discover an inner strength that may have been absent at a younger age.

It is all too easy to imagine the social world of dating as fraught with pitfalls, but rather than flailing around, unsure of how to act, older daters bring with them the confidence of a fully formed personality, honed through experience and brimming with confidence about who they are and who they want to offer their time to.

Knowing your own mind

That’s not to say everything will automatically be plain sailing. When you have successfully navigated the trials and tribulations of your early years it’s only natural that you may become a little too set in your ways.

A life moulded over time for maximum comfort can be hard to reshape sufficiently enough to allow space for new influences and experiences.

Michele Paradise, Wellness Expert and Founder of Change Your Mind for Good, understands that by later life we have wide circle of friends and family to take up our time.

“Sometimes having a full and established life can get in the way of forming a new relationship because people simply do not have enough time and space to make room for additional commitments in their lives,” says Michele.

The trick here is to be honest with yourself up about what you are looking for and how much ‘change’ you are prepared to negotiate. Clarity on this issue from the start will save frustration and disappointment for both you and those you want to get closer to.

The fun of dressing well

Staying fit and dressing well can often mean different things at different ages. For a lot of younger women, the need for external validation is always gently simmering under the surface, impacting on many day-to-day decisions.

For women who have reached and surpassed many of the goals they have set for themselves, priorities shift away from the transient towards deeper considerations such as friendships, family, love and creating quality moments either alone or with others.

For those women looking to make a grand entrance on to the dating scene, Fabafterfifty’s founder and editor Ceri Wheeldon says go for ‘glamour and drama’ — strengths that older women can often pull of far better than their younger counterparts.

Choose statement jewellery to create an impression — focus on your assets and not your flaws.

“As body shapes can change as we get older be honest about what your shape is today and dress to highlight your best bits. Got great shoulders — then the cold shoulder trend can work for you, as long as it’s done subtly.  Still an hourglass — then show off that waist. If in doubt, book a session with a stylist to see what colours and style work best for you at this stage of your life.”


A new look for a new day

One way of making a big impact without having to commit to big changes is by stepping out of your normal make-up comfort zone.

Ceri says you don’t need a radical overhaul to get yourself feeling like a new person — subtle tweaks is often all you need to produce a fresher and more contemporary look.

If you’re worried how to keep your skin fresh, avoid powder-based products that can have a drying effect. In terms of your make-up routine, always start with a primer to create a good base before you start applying makeup itself.

Give yourself a Botox treat

Once considered something to hide, opting for a treatment of Botox or other non-surgical anti-wrinkle treatment like dermal fillers is now seen by an increasing numbers of younger women as an accessible treat to be celebrated.

And with treatments only last the space of a lunchbreak, many people are opting to book a consultation that can be worked into the average shopping trip.

These days, subtly is key. Dr Tracy Mountford MBBS MBCAM, founder and medical director of the multi-award winning Cosmetic Skin Clinic, says it’s no longer about chasing the lines. For the best results, practitioners strategically place anti-wrinkle treatments in areas that support the ageing face, which keeps facial expressions looking natural and the treatments undetectable.

“Successful cosmetic treatments are all about keeping people guessing has she or hasn’t she? The only people that should know the answer to that question are your cosmetic doctor and you.”

Setting the scene

Dating over 50 first dares image

So much for the preamble, what about the main event?

Dating expert Olga Levancuka answers some of the most asked questions

Where is it best to go to on a first date?

When it comes to a first date, stick to the ‘F’ factors:

Familiar (to you) – So that you feel comfortable and in your element from the start of the date. It always helps when at least one of the people feels comfortable. In turn, the other person is more likely to relax more and be more open towards the whole dating experience. More laughter and more chances to have a second date, where you can actually open up and ask some important questions.

Free (or inexpensive) – Leave the important, key things, for the second date. Start your first date somewhere both of you can afford or at least where both of you are comfortable to take your wallets out. Besides, it’s best to concentrate on having a judgement-free atmosphere than in a fancy bar where everyone is dressed to impress. For better or for worse.

Fun – Think what would make you or your date happy! Feeding ducks? Cycling together? Sandwich tasting? It’s when you both make sandwiches and then give your opinion about each other’s sandwiches in a way wine connoisseurs say things about wine. Obviously as a joke 😉

PS: Coffee shops are great, providing your date doesn’t work in one or owns a chain of them.

How much do you reveal about yourself on a first date?

Ideally – Nothing too personal! Your first date is all about establishing rapport, not figuring out whether you have chemistry. I know, you heard it right. But it’s almost impossible to work out whether the person in front of is ‘the one’ on the first date. Why? Your hormones (didn’t have sex for a while), your nerves (am I as hot as I’d like to think of myself?) and all the other unexpected factors will add up to the awkwardness, tension and nervousness (in case you like what you see) to the date, and for both of you. So neither will be as relaxed or as willing to open up as during your second date. The first date is about synergy, not chemistry. Can you build a rapport and see this person again or not? That’s the only other goal, in addition to having fun, that you’d want to concentrate on during your first date.

And just to give you some ideas – talk about your likes, your dreams, trips you’d like to go on, your hobbies and your passions. See if that is something interesting exciting or intriguing to your date.

Ceri suggests that a good tactic on a first date is to listen more than talk. Avoid talking about past relationships and focus on the present. Get to know what they like to do and be prepared to share your interests.

“First dates should be fun…no drama!”

Coming back into dating may seem daunting but once you push past the initial reservations you will see that both life’s successes and failures will have fortified personality, helping steel you against situations you may not be so familiar with anymore.

So if you are single and looking for love, don’t be put off by the idea of dating. Take the first step and you might surprise yourself. And above all else, enjoy yourself.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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